Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Well, I offered and you responded, and now it's here. So don't say you didn't ask for it, buckos!

Without further ado, may I now introduce to you the...

My CD Player is Still Broken And I'm Still Having To Listen To Cassettes In My Car Quiz

The quiz is in one form only: snippets of song lyrics. To get full credit (2½ points), you need the song and the artist. Song or artist alone will get you one point.

Part One: 80s Mix Tapes. All these come from various 80s mix tapes I've made. These are the hard ones, people. You get even half of these, you're good.

1. We will rape and pillage in the village of his choice
2. Got a zebra by the tail and a pop-gun in my hand
3. There's matches in the bathroom just below the stairs
4. Oh but the prestige and the glory
5. He said, "Hey, I know it's dangerous, but it sure beats Riker's"
6. Brother's got a date to keep he can't hang around
7. I'm almost home, there's the 7-11
8. If I stop I could lose my head, so I'm losing you instead
9. The lights are on, but no one's there
10. Exactly who am I supposed to be?
11. I had it made like a mountain range with a snow white pillow for my big fat head
12. From high on a hill came the clarion call
13. I had my eyes shut, was dreamin' 'bout the past
14. The love we share seems to go nowhere
15. I kissed my girl by the factory wall
16. Everything goes when you're dead, everything empties from what was in your head
17. I could go on for hours and probably will
18. I don't know how I'm meant to act with all of you lot
19. I take requests on the telephone, I'm on a wavelength far from home
20. I tell the others "Don't bother me," 'cause when they look at you they don't see what I see

Part Two: A Fun Cassette I Found. I must have made this right before I got a CD burner. Most songs are from the mid-late 90s. These are easier. In fact, I think this section's dead easy.

21. She said, "I'm already dead"
22. Amsterdam was always good for grieving
23. If you still don't like my song then you can just go to hell
24. And my hair will shine like the sea
25. In search of truth, and some pointy boots, and maybe a few snack crackers
26. I don't know from maritime
27. Lights, camel, action!
28. I said "Pretend you've got no money," she just laughed and said, "You're so funny"
29. Bruce and I go to the Jose Theatre, 3 flicks for 50 cents, take me to your leader
30. Hit on the head with a frying pan, lives his life in a garbage can

Part Three: Grab Bag. Exactly what it says. These are songs from from everywhere, mainly tapes I pulled out and listened to that had no labels on them. They can be from any time or any genre. WooHoo!

31. I could tell you things about Peter Pan
32. Black skinned man give me bad deal
33. The idle brain is the devil's playground
34. I didn't know much Spanish and there was no time for talk
35. His tongue it could not speak but only flatter
36. I was steamed, I was fried, but you stood by my side
37. What do you do between the horns of the day
38. We're drinking, my friend, to the end of a brief episode
39. I have had enough, so act your age
40. Put your hands up to the ceiling, bend your waist and touch your toes

So there you have it. Will 40 questions and answers fit in the comments? Do you want to email me your answers so no one can cheat off you? Doesn't matter to me, if you do, try:

You may begin.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004


Well, well, well. Spring has sprung. Well, the spring acros have sprung. Unfortunately, here in Betland it's gone from 72 to 40 overnight. Woo friggin' hoo.

However, that didn't dampen the enthusiasm of the acros. There are a lot of good ones this week.

This week's letters were I L E T E N. The entries:

*In love, eager teenagers embrace nakedly.
*I let Evan touch each nipple!
*I love each touch, every nuzzle.
*It's lighter earlier, the evening's nicer.
*Impatient lovers embrace. Thoroughly enjoy nuzzling.
*In Lauderdale, escaping teenagers enjoy nookie.
*I love equinoxes: Topple eggs? Never!
*It's Lent. Easter time's ever nearer.
*Idiotic lilacs -- eyes tearing, effluent nostrils.
*I Love Easter. Teal Eggs - Nifty!!
*I Laughed Every Time Ervin Nimble.
*I Listened Ever Timidly. Erotic Neighbors!
*It's like every tree exuding newness.
*I loathe eyes tickling, emissions nasal.
*If leaves emerge, then everything's nifty.

Woo! And I know Mr M will be quite excited by one of those in particular.

Honorable mention this week: Jellybean's "In love, eager teenagers embrace nakedly." I shouldn't like that, seeing as how my nephew's a teenager. I'll think about some random unknown nekkid teenagers.

This week's runner up: MSAGRO with "In Lauderdale, escaping teenagers enjoy nookie." No! Not more horny teenagers! I do not know these teenagers!

This week's winner is a real gem. It's LilyG with "I love equinoxes. Topple eggs? Never!" Now, there was no way for MsG to know this, but the standing of an egg, well, I think of it every year, and actually did it one year. However as acroer Kellie herself can tell you - after bursting my bubble and ruining my life - this tradition may not be all it's cracked (no pun intended) up to be. For more on this developing story, go here. Wow. What a week!

Now, it is with a smidge of sadness that I must tell you that acro is taking a couple of weeks vacation. But it will return! Give me a couple of weeks, and I'll be back with some good new topics. And again, if you want to judge, let me know. I'd hate to have to come recruiting again.

See you soon, acroers. Or is that BRB?

Monday, March 29, 2004

TV Tome

I watched the finale of ESPN's "Dream Job" last night. It was good, and it was not so good. First of all, I have to say that as reality TV goes, this is pretty heady stuff. I mean, to win the job as a SportsCenter anchor, you really have to prove your mettle. As should be. And at the same time, I was a little miffed about the whole thing. And yes, I'm sure that had to do with the fact that my favorite, the sarcastic and a-little-too-stuck-on-himself Zach, was not only not the winner, but not even in the final two.

But here's what bugged me. We started out with the final four contestants. Each went through a couple of exercises, and then three (not four as had been all season) judges chose the two who'd go for the final race of Dream Job Winner. Now, this was a departure from how things had gone up till that point, which was a combination of audience voting and the judges' decisions. And I kept wondering why they would change their rules all of a sudden.

And then it hit me. The thing was rigged.

Well, not rigged like Professional Wrestling or International Figure Skating. But rigged like, "Listen, we've humored you audience guys this long, but whatever YooHoo wins this contest is on our payroll. We're hedging our bets here." And on one hand who can blame them? Remember years ago when MTV had a similar contest where the winner got to be a VJ? And the audience voted, and the winner was Jesse, some brainless hippie guy of no fixed hairstyle who was the poster child for "This Is Your Brain on Drugs." You can't blame ESPN for wanting to play it safe.

And on the other hand, still it sucked. It sucked when they all sat there giving their decisions (and thankfully, they all voted off the annoying Maggie, who still managed to make it to the final four despite having a lisp and sounding like she perpetually needed to blow her nose), and all looked straight at Zach and told him how great he was. And yet two of those judges voted him off. "I love you, you're the best, goodbye." And that was it. They both basically told him he was too good to have the Dream Job. And so he was gone, leaving blandoid Aaron and whitebread Mike.

At least Mike had some personality. And he won. So good to him. And for those two judges who told Zach he was too good for SportsCenter, that he should have a show built around him, why don't you hire him and build a damn show around him? Then I might watch your dumb network for things other than this show and the occasional college football game. And with that said....

Now A Word From Our Sponsors

We all know I'm no fan of commercials, but as they are a fact of life, at least when you watch TV as much as I do, they're bound to creep into your synapses. There are a few out there now that, for different reasons, are on my mind.

Caesar Dog Food: This is the commercial where the woman is having a fancy dinner party and she oh-so-smartly opens her doggie's food where the chef is preparing the party goods. It's snapped up and taken where to a table where, to me, it looks like dog food on a plate, but apparently to a party guest looks so good he puts it on a cracker and is about to partake of some patè de woof, when in the nick of time our party hostess shows up to avert disaster. Anyway, the doggie in the commercial is a Westie and actually looks more like Bill did than The Petster did, but in any case, any time I see the thing I scream out in a high-pitched squeal, "oohhhh, it's my baybeeeeeeee!" which annoys the shit out of anyone who happens to be around me at the time.

VISA: This commercial shows the US Volleyball team in practice. Outside on the beach. Where there's snow on the ground instead of sand. And they play a particularly hard-earned point with the ball finally landing in the water. So two girls do an "odds/evens" thing with their hands and the loser has to go into the icy water to get the ball. There are two things about this commercial that I can't let go of. In the flashing of gets and spikes and body parts, I could swear they show a woman's torso with a big red and possibly bloodied wound on it. Like a stab wound. I keep watching, and I see this every time, so I wasn't just having a "Psycho" flashback one night. It's in there. It's either a wound or a seriously eerie tattoo. The second thing this commercial grabs me with is the fact that when the two girls play odds/evens, the loser mutters something under her breath that looks and sounds amazingly like, "Damn." Now, it's certainly understandable, if I'd lost and had to plunge into the icy water, "damn" would the mildest of my interjections. But I just didn't think you were allowed to say "damn" in TV commercials. Anyway, I've had my TV set on closed-captioning for the past two days trying to catch it, but alas, it's not been shown yet.

ELIDEL: Now, I hate commercials for prescription drugs; actually, I think they should be illegal. But boy, am I in love with the little Elidel Man. You know him, the pixated superhero who's a combination of Buzz Lightyear and Elvis Costello, floats and hovers rather than flies through the air, has a penchant for strawberry ice cream cones, and likes to read Eczema Monthly. And the way he says, "Elidel...that's" is adorable. What's not to love? If I didn't already have my own superhero in Captain Asshole, I'd recruit him, even though all I have is dry skin. Maybe he and Captain A can team up to form some kind of Cuteness Justice League of their own. (Wasn't that a movie?)

ALLEVE: Now here's one that I unfortunately see way too much. The woman gets out of her car, and, in the driveway, starts a conversation with her husband:

Husband: What did he say about your arthritis?
Wife: He said to move my knee as much as possible.
Husband: But it hurts when you move your knee!
Wife: Well, the doctor suggested Alleve.
Husband: But we always use Tylenol!
Wife: Well, Tylenol can wear off, unlike Alleve....

And the wife goes on to explain to her panicked and frankly idiotic husband how everything's going to be OK with Alleve. The husband just needs to be kicked in the nuts. And the wife has the patience of Job. In a perfect world, the conversation would go kind of like:

Husband: What did he say about your arthritis?
Wife: He said to move my knee as much as possible.
Husband: But it hurts when you move your knee!
Wife: Yes, I know. It's hurts like a mofo. But it's what he said, okay? Anyway, he said to take some Alleve.
Husband: But we always use Tylenol!
Wife: Well, fuck Tylenol! He said Alleve! Now, get out of my face before I take my good leg and kick you in the nuts.

All I hope is when they go inside and we can't see them anymore, she bonks him on the head with a cast-iron skillet.


Good afternoon, all my budding Spring Flowers. And welcome to another sunshining-happy-have-a-nice-day-giving-the-peace-sign round of Acromania!

Once again, due to an absence of voluntary judges, I'll be doing the honors this week. Since it's such a nice day outside, I thought this week's acro should be a Spring Fling Thing. After all, it is the time for warmth, sunshine, flowers, breezes, baseball, hayfever, and love is supposed to be in the air, though it's never yet hit the air where I've ever been, but I guess that's another acro for another time. So give me your best acros about Spring.

Rules are the same, everyone gets three entries to come up with the best acronyms they can that correspond to the randomly drawn letters from the acrobasket. I'll be judging at 9ish est tomorrow night.

And here are this week's Spring Fling Thing letters:


There you have it. Now, spring into action! (oh, God - that was bad even for me. sorry.)

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Sunday Night

And I've nothing to say.

Except, thanks to all of you who went and saw "The Passion" for me; our band concert went very well indeed. No bloodshed, no one died, no thrown tomatoes. I got some good pictures, which maybe I'll get up online one day, played after two mega-healthy shots of Goldschlager, and all was happy and well.

I did a little more anti-Melling (I promise I'm gonna get off "The Passion" one day, if they'll just stop printing the dumb articles about it) Saturday night by watching "Monty Python's Life of Brian," which I hadn't seen since last year. Ahhh, fun. "Don't shove that baby in the Savior's face!" I love that line. "The lepers are queuing. All those posessed by devils, try and keep them under control."

Came back home today to find that - well, if I may be so bold - my daffodils are budding. Wonder how long now till the next wicked Spring Frost that'll kill them dead?

So, I got four "yes" votes for a quiz, so I'll resume my work. Maybe I'll put it up Tuesday night after the Acros have been judged. It won't be easy, I'll tell you that up front.

Have I mentioned I don't want to go to work tomorrow?

Saturday, March 27, 2004


I'll be scarce this weekend, I'm heading out now to B'burg to participate in the esteemed Blacksburg Community Band's esteemed 15th Anniversary esteemed Spring Concert. Spring Concerts are so much fun, they walk that line - will we actually pull it off or will it be a flying mass of disaster? Everyone keep a good thought, or better yet, if you have 2 hours and 6 minutes to spare, go see "The Passion" and chant "Community Band, Community Band - Mel is Good, Mel is Good." It'll help.

I was going to do a quiz this week with song lyrics, but half of me was too lazy, half of me was too tired, and the other half of me said, "no one's going to be interested in another quiz." (I have 3 halves, you know) Does anyone want a quiz? If so, I'll keep working.

Happy Weekend!

Friday, March 26, 2004

If Only He'd Seen It Sooner

"Now, look straight into the camera like you were addressing the Chief of Police...."

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Pardon Me While I Puke

"Now, look straight into the camera like you were addressing a friend...." Yeah, and make them avoid you for the rest of your life.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Leave Me Alone

I'm still sick. In case you're wondering. In case you've seen me, ignoring you, not speaking, not smiling, sitting at my desk with my eyes closed. That's what I do when I'm sick. I'm like my dad.

We're a two-symptom family. Me and Dad. When we're sick, we want to hole up. No talking, no babying, no mollycoddling, we just want peace and quiet. In other words, leave us the fuck alone. We're like wounded animals.

My mom and sister are the complete opposite. When they're sick, all they want to do is talk about it. They cough louder than is necessary. They sniff louder than is necessary. Each of these is usually followed by a big "sigh" that can be heard around the block. Then they'll find a way to work it into every conversation. I mean it, if you'd start a conversation about missionaries in Somalia, they could find a way to work how miserable they are into the conversation. It's a talent. Well, it's a talent for them; it's a curse for the rest of us.

So I was looking forward to leaving work yesterday and going home to hide my head under a blankie. I knew I had to stop and get gas along the way; I couldn't coast on fumes any longer. Then my mother called and told me to come over to their house and she'd make me dinner. I was saying no, no, no, I didn't feel up to it, and she threw in Enticement Number One, that if I came she'd make me macaroni and cheese. As I was still hedging, she threw in the Piece de Resistance: Taytie was going to be there too. *Ding!* She knew she had me on that one.

So I headed out, and stopped at the trusty Chevron. I swiped my card through the pump and it said "Unable to Read." Dammit, I said, and wiped off the numbers with my fingers, and swiped again. Same thing. Did it one more time, same result. So I drug myself inside the office, to the 17-yeard old boy working there, and said, "There's something wrong with my card, can you swipe it through the machine in here?" And he said, "Well, ma'am (I'm so torn when 17-year old boys call me ma'am - so polite and yet I want to scream at them "I'm not that old!"), let's go outside and see." He then led me outside and showed me - like it was my first time ever using a card - that not only was I swiping the card backwards, but upside-down as well. Then he took the pump out and put it in the tank for me. I wanted to explain to him I was sick, and therefore completely brain-dead, but these explanations never do any good.

So, tank filled, I walked round to the drivers side of my car, holding my card out like a retard, and went to open my door. It was locked. I'd locked my keys in the car.

So back inside to Mr ThinksI'mAnIdiot so I can explain what I've done. He assured me they had nothing on the premises that could break into my car, so I had to call the police. And wait.

Before too long, a police officer showed up, and was kind enough to unlock my car and not make fun of me. It was a dual victory.

Then on to Mom and Dad's, where I met up with Taytie, who thought the best way to soothe my fevered brow was to play me some tunes he's learning on his brand new electric guitar and amplifier. And that was fine. It did my heart good to see the boy rockin' out, even if it was to Metallica and not to the Ramones or the Clash. But I kept mentioning them to him, hoping maybe he'd get interested by osmosis. Who knows.

I spent the rest of the evening folded up on the sofa having my mother offer me things. Blankets, cough drops, hot cloths, humidifiers, juices, prescription drugs... I know she loves me. But how many times can you say "no," "no thank you," "no, really, I just want peace and quiet," "no, really, just leave me alone, American Idol's on," "no, I have my own prescription drugs I don't need yours," "please, Mom, I love you, but if I hear your voice any longer I'm jumping off the roof."

Anyway, I took this morning off from work, for another two hours of glorious unbreathing sleep.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004


Hello, hello, I'm alienating everyone around me with my germs and my demeanor. So before I make any enemies (or in this week's case, enemas), let's get straight to the judging.

This week's doctorial letters were Q N I A R E T. The entries?

*Queasiness? Nausea? Indigestion? Apply rectal enema therapy.
*Quick, nurse! It's a really enormous tapeworm!
*Quack? No, I'm a Rational Emotive Therapist.
*Queasy? Now I anticipate really ejecting throwup.
*Quick, nurse! I absolutely require Elizabeth's temperature
*Quelling needless injuries -- a radiologist's extreme triumph.
*Quiet! Nurse - Instrument. Allen's Ready. Eject Tonsils.
*Queer, Ned Is Already Running. Enema. Tsk.
*Quandry. Needing Injections, Alice Returned. Exceptionally Tentative.
*Quinine Needle Inserted In Ass. Really Erotic Tonic
*Qualified? Need Insurance? Ask Ronco. Estimates, terrific!
*Quinn, Nursing Intern, Applies Rum - Eliminates Toxins!
*Quite nice inside ambulance. Really enjoyable trip
*"Quality narcotics is available" replied Emergency Technician
*Quickly Nurse! It's asthma. Respiratory effort troublesome.
*Quacks? Not in a respectable establishment, Tex.
*Quote: "Nurse, I've a really enraged testicle."
*Quiverers, narcissists, inhalant addicts request extra Tylenol.

Wow, it was all I'd hoped for. First of all, shout outs to LilyG and MSAGRO for being brave enough to take on last week's forbidden OAAQA acro.

Tonight's first Honorable Mention struck me not only for its creativity, but for the vivid picture it painted in my head. MSAGRO's "Quite nice inside ambulance. Really enjoyable trip." I don't know, I just picture some old geezer, head split open, laying back there enjoying the ride thinking, "Hmmm, this ain't bad."

Kellie's "Queer. Ned is already running. Enema. Tsk." There's so much about this one to love. The thought of poor Ned. The nonchalant wondering of his nurse. And that mysterious "Tsk" at the end. Was the enema given wrong? Was there an "accident" after poor Ned started running? Who knows?? All I know is that it gets Honorable Mention too.

This week's runner-up just made me laugh, so there. Of course, laughing makes me cough, so I shouldn't award it anything, but it's Michelle's "Qualified? Need insurance? Ask Ronco. Estimates, terrific!" The thought of Ronco selling health insurance (if you're qualified!) just makes me laugh. And cough.

However. There are winners, and there are winners. And there are great acros, and there are classics. And then there are those that rise into the stratosphere past genius where no man dare treads. This week's winner is the DeepFatFriar with "Quack? No, I'm a Rational Emotive Therapist." It was just, well, I wept. That's all I can say.

Thanks to all who played. You've all done very well!

Monday, March 22, 2004


Cuhuhh. Cuhuhh. *sniff* Auntie Bet isn't well today. My sore throat's become a full-out cold. Normally, I'd wait till I was germ-ridden and downtrodden to do anything about it, but I was alarmed enough this time to go straight to the doctor and get uber-drugs.

But you didn't think I'd desert you acromaniacs, did you??

With that in mind, this week's acro is entitled, "I Went To The Doctor's Office." With the twisted minds of this bunch, I can only imagine. The rules of course are the same. Everyone gets three entries to make the best acro they can to the letters below, which are drawn from the now-germ infested acrobasket. I shall be announcing the winners tomorrow around 9pm estish.

"I Went To The Doctor's Office." And the letters this week are:


Damn, that Q is determined to show up. It was part of my first-ever redrawing last week. Which by the way, those letters were O A A Q A. I couldn't make anyone acro that.

So yall go off and acro, and leave me here with my blankie. And a wire coat hanger to stick down in my ears.

Sunday, March 21, 2004


I came home from B'burg today with a bad sore throat and a CD still stuck in my car's player. Mr M, who apparently knows all, says it's not the CD, it's the player. That there's no power getting to it, ergo, no CD coming out. And no matter how many times I shoved those pliers into his hand, he said I have to take it to a shop.

You can guess where I wanted to shove those pliers....

As we were in the car yesterday, totally by chance on NPR I caught an interview with just about the only rock band I listen to these days, Southern Culture on the Skids. Turns out they have a new album out. I looked at Barnes & Noble, where we were heading anyway, dumb idea, their music collection reeks. Today, on the way home, I stopped where I should have in the first place, The Record Exchange. HooHah: 1 new copy of "Mojo Box." However, un-HooHah: Only one copy, so no present to take home to my sister and Taytie.

(Found out an interesting fact in the interview, though. Both Dave and Mary are from Roanoke, VA. Shocked me.)

Are the new tunes good? Who knows?? I DON'T HAVE A FUCKIN' CD PLAYER IN MY CAR!

(OK, I promise I'll let up on this soon.)

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Roger Kenny

I know I'm the only one amongst us who remembers an old and very obscure show from the toddler days of Ted Turner's Superstation (only it wasn't called that then, it was Channel 17) called "Tush." It starred Channel 17 stalwart Bill Tush, and a cast of lovable loonies. It was sketch comedy, had a budget of about $2.50 per week, and made me laugh my ass off. (And by the way included in the cast of lovable loonies were funnywoman Jan Hooks and Bonnie and Terry Turner, who created and wrote "3d Rock From the Sun.")

Bill Tush went on to become an entertainment correspondent at CNN, until he retired a couple of years ago. In an amazing turn of events, Thursday night I not only found a person's blog and website that had some links for downloadable files of the old shows, but was directed to a site for Bill Tush himself. I'm totally chuffed over that, and especially over the fact that Bill keeps a blog.

Anyway, my sister and her then-still new husband were also great fans of the "Tush" show, and so certain little bits of the thing stayed with us and they pop up even today. One of those things is "Roger Kenny." Roger Kenny came about when one of the sketches was of a talk show and Roger was one of the stars. You must understand this was in the early 80s, when Kenny Rogers was king and could do no wrong. So when he was introduced, out came Roger Kenny, a guy with white hair and a white beard, who basically just talked about all the money he'd made and all he'd bought with it. In fact, he'd brought clips of things he'd bought, and introduced us to his two kids he'd bought. For some reason it sticks in my mind that he was especially proud that one kid was Asian. That might be my imagination. When it came time for him to do a song, he looked into the camera and sang about two lines of a song, 10 or so seconds, that was basically the title of every Kenny Rogers song strung together. I remember it ended with "If Ruben James' a lady, then I'll take my love to town."

But even today, when someone starts to brag about or show off something they have, they'll have the epithet hurled at them: Roger Kenny! And so today, I'm going to be Roger Kenny.

My folks got in from Florida Wednesday. Thursday morning they came by to visit at work. My mom (or "Gwanny" you may call her if you wish, many do) came into my office and gingerly plopped a baggie down on my desk. She said, "Here, I bought this for you at the rummage sale for a dollar." The park where they live in Florida has a rummage sale every year where they basically get out all their shit, put it on tables, and trade it around to each other for quarters and dollars so that next year different people can get out the same shit and do it all over again. I'm sure if you stay in the park long enough, eventually you'll buy your own shit back. They have a ball down there in Florida.

So in the baggie was something wrapped in a brown paper towel. And protruding from the end was a clear round thing, which I took to be one of those rubber sucky things that holds stuff to a window or tile wall. And I thought, "Oh, dear," because as much as I love my mother, she can buy things sometimes that are, well, quite unfortunate. So with trepidation I started to unwrap her dollar find.

Imagine my total shock and surprise when I realized that the clear round thing was not in fact a rubber sucky thing, but the bottom of a shotglass. Of which there were three more. It was a set of four Jagermeister shotglasses, with the logo on the front and the fill line on the back, and, well, they're just wonderfully exquisite and I love them. Just looking at them makes me want to put on my ugly red dress and party with the Sauerkraut Band like it was Oktoberfest all over again.

I'm posting a picture below. Thanks, Mom! Ein Prosit!

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Vinyl Revisited

Since I wrote Tuesday's blog, I've had two interesting things happen. Well, maybe three, only one was just marginally interesting, that being I got out the singles box with all my vinyl collectibles in it and touched and rubbed and got all excited.

But the first interesting thing is, yesterday being St Patrick's Day, I felt compelled whilst driving to B'burg for Band Practice to listen to the Pogues. I love that they're a dual-holiday band. You can listen to them on St Patrick's Day, you can listen to them on Halloween. How convenient.

What's not convenient, however, is that my "If I Should Fall From Grace With God" CD (yes, CD) is wonky. And it's been wonky the whole 15 or so years that I've owned the damn thing. Playing it at home, in the car, in the computer, it just has a tendency to act, well, to act as weird as Shane McGowan after a night out on the town. Either it won't play, or it skips, or it gets "hung" between tracks. It's just a defective CD and every time I play it I wonder if it'll be the last time.

Well, guess what. As we speak, the CD is stuck in my car's CD player. I can't get it out. It's making the CD player look like there's no CD in it. The eject won't work. The "play" button won't work. I've not found an object yet I can dislodge it out of there with, and frankly, it's getting right on my wick. If I ruin the CD I don't care, I've been telling myself to buy a new one for years, but I don't want to ruin the player.

Now, do you ever get an album hopelessly stuck on the turntable? I don't think so.

Also, on a little lighter note, I did some browsing on Amazon and found one single solitary entry for "Casting My Spell" by the Talismen. It's on a collection (if I'm understanding what I'm reading correctly) of songs Jimmy Page played on in the 60s. And on it is not only "Casting My Spell," but also the Talismen's cover of Dylan's "Masters of War." Which, oddly enough, was the b-side of "Casting My Spell." It's probably the only two songs they ever recorded. Cool though, if that blazing solo on the record I've been listening to almost my whole life has been Jimmy Page and I've never known it.

Since I still have some funds left on the Amazon gift certificate Ed gave me, I said "what the hell" and scooped it up. And I'm excited, except for one small thing.

It's on CD, of course.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Vinyl Fetish

Twice now in the last week I've been reminded of something. Once in an email from Mike, Man of Mystery and Movies, and once from something I read just this morning. What I was reminded of is that I love vinyl. As in records.

And boy, do I. Love records, I mean. I always have. I get it honest, my dad loves them too. He's always had old traditional, bluegrass, country, and blues records. My mom's tastes got added into that, Ray Charles and Percy Sledge. So, my sister and I were incredibly lucky to have our parents indulge us in our love. Of course, Mom's nerves began to fray when my love turned into addiction. I can hear my mom like it was yesterday, anytime I had a few extra bucks and headed to the music store: "Are you gonna wear a record to school?" Occasionally, when she was a little more worked up, I'd get: "An album's not going to cover your naked hind end." Oh, how I longed to say, "Well, maybe a double album would," but seeing as how we didn't sass Mom, I never got to launch that one.

I did have this elaborate fantasy, though. Since my mom seemed to be so irked that I eschewed buying clothes for buying music (as I still do, Mom knows she lost) and always asked if I was going to wear a record to school, I had the great idea to fashion a dress out of album covers and come to the kitchen one morning. I'd silently grab a PopTart and head off with a wave, wearing my records to school and finally answering her lifelong question with a resounding "yes." However, it was not to be.

When my sister got married, it was a traumatic experience. Not only the losing of the sister, but the horrible day when we had to split the record collection. Sure, we each had our own albums, but there were some albums that were "ours." Parents or grandparents had bought them, or we'd pooled our money for them. It was like having to divide the spoils of a divorce. (In fact, Elvis Costello himself wrote about that: "There's a stack of shellac and vinyl, which is yours now and which is mine.")

I got all the early Beatle albums, which wasn't such a great bargain because they were scratched all to hell, but I wanted them for sentimental reasons (by then I was replacing them new copies anyway). I got almost all the Monkees albums and Herman's Hermits, which in 1978 weren't such a big deal, but boy, am I glad I got them now. My sister got all the Beach Boys, and the early Boz Scaggs records, since her soon-to-be husband helped us discover Boz she thought she had a legal claim to them. Fair enough.

And I must say, to her credit, she left all the 45s behind. We'd amassed zillions of 45s since the mid-sixties, all laying in boxes, not in paper covers, just laying there naked and ready to be scratched up. Probably half of them were mine anyway, since I was a 45 zealot, but the others, hers, ours, prizes in potato chip bags (I'll bet I'm the only person in the world who remembers that - Moore's Potato Chips used to include a free 45 with every double bag!), and stuff our folks had found hither and yon.

So, by the time I was out of high school and into the halcyon days of my twenties, I already had my Kingdom of Vinyl surrounding me. But then... then... (pronounced then dot-dot-dot; then! dot-dot-dot!)

The 80s struck!

The 80s, well, if you were a British invasion/punk/new wave/etc.etc.etc fan like myself, were a complete Renaissance of vinyl. Bands would release one single. Then they'd release the same single on red vinyl. Or blue vinyl. Or white. Or green. Then they'd release a 10-inch vinyl version. And I was in Heaven. I found the wonderful world of mail order, and import stores, and Goldmine (the record collectors magazine). And so I spent ten years or so trying to get my hands on everything I saw. Especially where the band Squeeze were concerned, and they put out some good stuff. The colored vinyl, the special issues, the 3-D covers, the non-album B-sides. Boy, of all the things I miss about the vinyl years, that's probably the biggest.

And so after the 12-inch singles and picture discs and fan-club only issues and everything else, the 80s were reaching their end. And with that came that little circle of hell. The CD.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not a CD-hater. They have nice sound, and they're portable. You can't take an album along in your car to listen to. But CDs are boring. They're boring-looking. And it's impossible to try and replace all your actual records with CDs. And remember in the beginning when they told us how indestructible the compact disc was? Not true. They can skip and repeat, too. And without the lovable warm "crackle crackle" that vinyl has. (And don't even get me started on CD cases.)

Not long before I moved I unearthed the huge box of those zillions of 45s mentioned above. Not my "good" ones, the special vinyls and issues. Just the ones collected over almost 40 years of living. In general, I just wanted to see what all was in there, if I could remember some of the songs I was listening to in the 70s when I was growing up. But behind that, I was looking for one particular single.

It's a record from my childhood, I have absolutely no idea how it made it into the collection. It had to have come from Mom and Dad, but how they got it would be totally beyond me. Maybe they got it from potato chip offers back in the early 60s, who knows. But it's one of the earliest records I can remember in my life, and it's a record called "Casting My Spell," by the Talismen.

Now, "Casting My Spell" is an old standard as far as rock/blues stuff goes. But I've never heard a cooler, more rockin' version of the song. I knew it when I was five, and I know it now. And I unearthed and looked through approximately a zillion singles just to get to the Talismen.

And here is the coolest thing about vinyl.

"Casting My Spell," being a record that's been in the collection longer than any other, is more than a little frazzled, as you might guess. In fact, it's broken. It's broken, in a split, from the hole out to the end. But! As happens with vinyl, you can lay the record down, flatten it, and that split goes right together to where you can play it, with only the occasional pop as it rounds the turntable! Try that with a CD! I dare you!

(However, as luck, or my luck, would have it, "Casting My Spell" was not in the Box of a Zillion Records. And it's killing me trying to figure out where it might be.)

Anyway, I haven't gotten out records and played them in earnest in a couple of years, since when my sister and I decided to make duelling 80s mix tapes, and I realized all my really really good stuff was only on vinyl. I got out stacks of stuff, and had a ball. Then I put it all up. And I've got the itch to get out another big stack and "play records" like I used to.

Oh. One last thing. The one thing records have all over CDs. You can hug records. Go ahead. Pick up an album of your favorite singer. One that you loved when you were younger. One you love now. Hold it out, kiss it, and hug it against your chest. Doesn't that feel good?!

You can't hug a CD. Nothing but heartache in that.


Well, the entries are in and I've watched as much "American Idol" as I can take. So now it's time to declare the winners in this week's Acro. The Laundry Acro.

The letters this week: H D L T I. The entries:

*Hey darlin', like to iron?
*Happy dryers -- lintless, tidy, immaculate
*Hope dryer leaves towels intact.
*"Husband doing laundry? That's impossible!"
*"Hot dryer lint terrific insulation"
*"Hopefully Dryell left tumbling inside"
*Harriet's dirty linen tittilates Irving.
*Hanging, drying longjohns tempt Isabel.
*Happy Days Launderette? Totally inane.
*Hey. Drop Larry's Tide - Instantly.
*He Did Load Towels Incorrectly.
*Hippos Don't Launder Tanktops. Interesting...
*Her dainties look tantalizingly Italian.
*How does Larry treat it?
*Hell, do low trousers itch!
*Happily doing laundry, trying inhalants.
*Hope dryer's lint thingy's inspected.
*Here's Downy! Lessens tyranny! Improved!
*Hang drying lingerie tickles imagination!
*Hopelessly dirty Levi's - totally "in".
*Hungover doing laundry? Take ibuprofen!

Great entries all. But let's get right to it.

Our first honorable mention goes to MSAGRO with his "Husband doing laundry? That's impossible!" I could hear that being said at the laundromat.

Second honorable mention goes to Krizzer with her "Hungover doing laundry? Take Ibuprofen!" I am, often! I'll try it!

This week's runner-up, which I totally loved, was Mike's "Here's Downy! Lessens Tyranny! Improved!" That totally cracked me up.

But this week's winner, not only because it was cute, but because it most fit my personal impression of something you'd overhear at the laundromat was LilyG with "Hey, darlin', like to iron?" Ah, those detergential romances....

Thanks to all who played, all who may possibly volunteer to judge, and please come back next week to play!

Monday, March 15, 2004


Hello everyone, it's Monday, it's muggy, I'm sweating, I'm swearing, that means it must be time for another I-hate-laundry-and-yet-amass-more-of-it-than-any-one-human-alive round of Acromania!

I shall be judging again this week. I'm also accepting judging volunteers. Please step forward if you'd like to be a judge.

Seeing as how I did laundry this weekend and still have one more clothes load and one more towel load to do, and seeing as how multiple folks told me the liked the idea of a topical acro, this week's acro is going to be: "Overheard at the laundromat."

The other rules are the same. Everyone gets three entries to come up with the best acro they can to the letters below, which are drawn randomly from the good old acrobasket. I'll be judging tomorrow around 9pm est, at which time the winner will be bubbling with excitement, while the non-winners will just be, uh, foaming at the mouth.

And with "Overheard at the laundromat" as your topic, here are this week's letters:

OK, for the first time in acro history, I've had to re-draw the letters. I wouldn't even on my worst day give yall these letters to try and make a sentence with.

Here are this week's new letters:


And there you have it. I've given everyone a little gift there. Use it and make great acros!

Sunday, March 14, 2004

As The Weekend Ends

Here's what I've accomplished:

1. Taxes done, federal and state.
2. Slept
3. Two loads of laundry done.
4. Midnight chat with #squeezesters.
5. Slept
6. Slept
7. Got trash ready to be put out for tomorrow morning.
8. Watched 4 movies, neither worth very much.
9. Slept
10. Practiced clarinet
11. Slept
12. Slept
13. Slept
14. Dreaded Monday
15. Slept
16. Slept

Friday, March 12, 2004

To end Movie Week, I thought I'd do a random list of movies I think about from time to time. No, this isn't my Top Ten Movies of All Time. Just.....

10 Movies I Love And The Reasons Why

Matewan: Local history. Beautiful camerawork. First time I ever saw two of my acting favorites, David Strathairn and Chris Cooper. Hazel Dickens singing "Fire In The Hole" and "The Gathering Storm." John Sayles as the preacher. The way storylines are written around sermons. "I wouldn't pee on him if his heart was on fire." The union baseball game.

O Brother, Where Art Thou: The title, for starters. Cameos by musicians Jerry Douglas, Ed Snodderly, and Gillian Welch. Delmar's soul. "I'm gonna R-U-N-N-O-F-T!" The shot of the two kids walking in the middle of nowhere, in 120 degree heat, carrying a block of ice. A man is actually run out of town on a rail. Those fake beards. "Gopher, Everett?" The "unaffiliated" George Clooney.

Pulp Fiction: The conversation between Samuel L Jackson and John Travolta (Royale With Cheese). The out-of-sequence scenes. Jackrabbit Slim's. The little square Uma draws on the screen. Link Wray's "The Rumble." The watch story. The wallet that says "Bad Motherfucker." The twist contest. "Aww man, I shot Marvin in the face!" The use of "Flowers On The Wall." Big Kahuna Burger.

Monsters, Inc: Herryhausen's. The adorableness of Boo. "Put that thing back where it came from or so help meeee~" Boo handing Sulley her toys: a Jessie doll, a Nemo fish, and the ball from "Luxor." The scene on the scare floor that mirrors the scene in "The Right Stuff." Mike borrowing Sulley's "odorant" - "wet dog." Celia's snake hair, especially when they have neck braces. The door chase, which would still make a great roller coaster ride. "Mike Wazowski!" The incredible expression they get on Mike's face when he tells Sulley, "There is no you and me anymore; this time you're on your own." The incredible expression on Sulley's face at the end when he sees Boo again.

Sling Blade: Carl's walk. It's the Billy Bob we loved before he went loopy and started wearing blood. Frank, one of the great kid characters of all time, played to perfection by Lucas Black. "I like the way you talk." John Ritter. The bookmark that says "You Will Be Happy." Vic Chestnutt as one of the band members. Doyle saying, "I don't mean to be so...well, assholish is I guess what you'd call it." JT Walsh. "Hades - some folks call it Hell, I call it Hades." James Hampton from "F-Troop."

Cinema Paradiso: Cute little Salvatore and crusty old Alfredo. The priest ringing his bell. Music right out of a Chef Boyardee commercial. The spitting moviegoer. The scene where they show the movie outside, projected against a building. That last scene, which will always make me cry.

That Thing You Do!: The Oneders. "It's very important that you don't stink today." Chris Isaak as Uncle Bob. The bass player has no name. Those wonderful RCA Victor chairs in Patterson's Appliances. The Wonders' fan. A sweet interracial crush. "If Jimmy's a genius, I'm U Thant." The scene where "That Thing You Do" is first played on the radio. Guy Patterson's dad. Cap'n Geech and the Shrimp Shack Shooters. "IIIIIIIII- I quit, I quit, I quit." The photo shoot scene, with the boys running on the big map of the US, and running on a horse track. Wolfman - "Too scary."

Stripes: Harold Ramis' terrific face. "We're not parking it, we're abandoning it." Sean Young before she went looney. First time I saw Judge Reinhold. Judge's "Death Before Disco" sweatshirt. Bill Murray's great "We're Americans" speech. "Have that removed, soldier." Psycho, Cowboy, and The Cruiser. Sgt Hulka with his big toe. Joe Flaherty as the border guard. "How's it goin', Eisenhower?" Singing "Doo Wah Diddy." Thanks to this movie, when Tito Puente died, we all said, "I've been listening to him for years." "Never convicted."

Monty Python and the Holy Grail: The killer rabbit. The holy hand grenade. "It's only a flesh wound." The fact that everyone's on horseback and there's nary a horse in the movie. "I fart in your general direction." The Knights of the Round Table dance number. The opening titles. "Come see the violence inherent in the system! Help, help, I'm bein' repressed!" Prince Herbert. "She turned me into a newt!" The Knights Who Say Ni. "I bet you're gay." "No I'm not."

A Fish Called Wanda: K-k-ken. "Asssshoooooole!" Geoffrey Palmer as the judge. "I Wanda...." The Cathcart Towers Hotel. "Don't eat the green ones, they're not ripe." Those poor terriers. Kevin Kline, Kevin Kline, Kevin Kline. "I've worn dresses with higher IQs." Archie Leach. The bit part by Stephen Fry ("Oh, look, it's the queen!"). Harvey Manfridchinsonton.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

This Movie I Watched

When we were at the vidie store Saturday, Mr M and I, I was picking out movies. I get to pick the movies because I'm the social director. We got "American Splendor" because I wanted Mr M to see it. And he liked it as I thought he would; in fact, he's now convinced that he and Harvey Pekar are kindered spirits, if not the same person. And by the way, if you haven't seen "American Splendor" go see it immediately, and if you have seen it, go see it again, it's even better the second time. (It went from 4½ to 5 stars for me.)

We also got "School of Rock," not so much because I wanted him to see it, but because I wanted to see it again. Then he sat there and let out a few genuine laughs and ended up telling me the movie was "stupid and predictable." Well, that statement was stupid and predictable, stupid because he laughed during it, and predictable because you have to have a certain level of rock music coolness to like this movie and, well, in a kind way, he ain't got it.

Then I got a movie of my very own to take home with me. I do this sometimes, seeing as how the B'burg video store has a better foreign and classics selection than the B'field one. So in the newly-released DVDs I saw an old Cary Grant movie called "People Will Talk." And it just caught my eye for some reason, so I rented it to take home.

"People Will Talk" tells the story of an unorthodox gynecologist played by Cary Grant. The first thing that makes him unorthodox is that this gynecologist shows up in a room full of medical students and starts going over the ins and outs, so to speak, of a cadaver. The other things that make him unorthodox are his personality ("quirky" would be the key word here) and the fact that everywhere he goes he takes a big hulking stone of a man called Shunderson, whom no one knows anything about.

During his explanation of the cadaver during class, Cary Grant makes an unorthodox woman pass out. The first thing that makes her unorthodox is that she isn't a medical student and she's sitting in class on cadaver day. The other thing that makes her unorthodox is that this is 1950, and the reason she passes out is because she's pregnant without benefit of being married, which she finds out from, of all people, Grant.

It's a blazing coinkidink, a gynecologist explaining a cadaver to a woman not in the class who passes out and then he checks her out later and she happens to be pregnant, but there you go. But hang on, it gets better.

When Cary Grant tells the unorthodox woman (who was Jeanne Crain, btw) she's pregnant, she, of course, goes to pieces. Seems she was torridly in love with a man and, well, got right slutty about it only to have him leave her, but not alone, if you get my drift. So here she is with a broken heart and a bun in the oven, ready to become a social pariah (though she says she cares not about that), and Cary's none too nice about the whole thing, which is actually not that unorthodox for a doctor, because few doctors care at all about the people they treat, right?

So what does Jeanne Crain do but walk right out of his office, after which we hear the sound of a gun and see her crumpled body in the hallway. She's tried to shoot herself through the heart. Lucky most people misjudge where the heart actually is, says Cary Grant, and, boy did she need to be sitting in on those medical classes, because she's shot herself in the side. I mean, people may misjudge where the heart actually is, but I'll be damned if that many think it's on their sides.

In blazing coincidence number two, the classroom, Cary Grant's office, and the hospital are all contained in the same area, so they take her right to the operating room, where we encounter blazing coincidence number three, the fact that gynecologist Cary Grant does the operation on Jeanne Crain, flanked only by his personal nurse and an orderly. I mean, the whole friggin' hospital is devoid of anyone else, save for Hume Cronyn sitting up in a little office trying to ruin Grant's career, which is a shame since he can teach about cadavers, be a gynecologist, and perform surgery on gunshot victims. But that's a whole other storyline. Immediately after the surgery, the orderly and nurse leave and Cary Grant is taking off his mask. And who should waltz into the operating room but - Shunderson, no mask, no surgeon's cap, in a wool suit, and who knows if the man has even washed his hands.

And so, when Jeanne Crain wakes up, after being dumped by the man she was torridly and sluttily in love with just weeks before, she wakes up torridly (but not sluttily, since she's in the hospital with a hole in her side) in love with Cary Grant, whom she's known for approximately 20 minutes and had one conversation with. And Cary Grant shows us just why he's so unorthodox when he decides to tell Jeanne Crain she's not pregnant after all, even though she is. He figures it'll be easier on her that way, at least until she bloats up like a house and the contractions start.

A scant days later, Grant shows up at Crain's house to discreetly tell her father she's pregnant (so much for the privacy act). Apparently he's the kindest man in the world - that's why Crain couldn't tell Dad about the oven bun, apparently he's just way too nice - and by gum, Cary can't tell the man either. So instead he kisses Crain right on the mouth and proposes marriage.

By the way, Crain and her nice dad live on a farm owned by Crain's uncle, who is played by the guy who played miserly Ben Weaver on The Andy Griffith Show, and they have a really cute but mean doggie named Beelzebub. When Shunderson tames Beelzebub by simply staring at him, I was sure the plot was going to take some sort of twist into explaining that Shunderson was in fact God, but if it did do that, I was dull-witted enough to miss it.

So once Grant marries Crain and takes her and her Dad back to his humble home, the Hume Cronyn story starts in, and it's just stupid. We never know why Cronyn hates Grant enough to want him discredited. But they have a big hearing where Grant has to explain his unorthodox behavior in some previous cities, and who Shunderson is, which is the dumbest and dullest explanation they could have come up with. They should have just said he was God. But of course they don't, but they pound down Cronyn anyway and he goes back to whatever rock he crawled out from under, and no, I don't know if Jessica Tandy was waiting for him there.

Now, throughout this whole story, the gynecologist surgeon cadaver teacher is also working on conducting some sort of medical symphony orchestra. For some reason, the big hearing/showdown is on the same night as their big concert. As the newly victorious (and I still don't really understand, victorious over what) Grant goes back to the ballroom to conduct the orchestra, Crain is in the first row with her Dad, and feels the baby kick.

OK, she met him upon finding out she was pregnant, fell in love with him after 20 minutes, he proposed about the next day or two, they married, and now she feels the baby kick. She must have been, what, 8 weeks pregnant? That baby's gonna kill her by the ninth month. And she'll have deserved it. I hope it also falls out of the womb and beats the shit of Shunderson, but spares Grant, because even in a dumb movie he makes things enjoyable.

Even when he's given a line to recite such as this one: "The frightening things we do sometimes when we're afraid to be afraid."

And I gave this movie three stars? It pales in the memory.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

"The Sands Of Time: Starring.....Paw!"

I told you I'd see if I could get you a copy of the picture of my dad I liked so much, the one I inherited from Mamaw Bowles. Since it's movie week, and I always said Dad looked like a matinee idol in this one, tonight's the perfect night to post it. And so here is my dad, some 50 years ago....

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Where It's Due

The other day I came home for lunch. "Law and Order" was a Sorvino (not good) and Game Show Network was showing "Love Connection" (really not good). So I was flipping around, and saw that a movie was starting on Encore that would hold my interest. Now, yes, I know this is completely stupid, as at this point in the proceedings I had about 20 minutes of time before I was to return to the saltmines, and I was getting ready to start watching a brand-new movie. But that's me. And so I turned over to Encore.

The previous movie was still in progress, but was ending up. Well, it was ending up the first time. After that ending it ended up a second time and then a third time. It was quite annoying, especially since each ending (or should we say false ending) was syrup-sweeter than the one before. The star wins the big race! The End. Nope, wait, now the star's getting married to the pretty leading lady with all his buddies around! The End. Nope, wait, now the pretty leading lady is a pregnant secretary at the successful practice of the leading man, where all the buddies come for dental care! The End. Thank God.

The movie in question was "Snow Dogs."

Now, I know this movie was a, pardon the pun, dog. I read the reviews, saw the previews, and, hey, it has Cuba Gooding, Jr in it. And if the ending(s) of the movie were anything like the rest of it, I feel justified to give it a thumbs-down review, which I'd do anyway, even if I hadn't seen any of it, because that's just how I am.

But the 11 or so minutes I had to endure of this movie wasn't even the worst part. When the last ending finally came, and I was thinking it was finally over, little did I know what was to come.

The credits.

This movie had to have had the longest credits of any movie in cinematic history. I counted three whole songs that played over them, and one of them was by Michael Bolton, which made the whole thing even longer and personally I think ticket purchasers might have grounds for a class action lawsuit on that basis alone. You know, this is why every damn movie released nowadays has some big bloated soundtrack to go along with it. All those songs over the damn credits.

And I've heard complaints about this before. There was a time when I wasn't so, well, cranky about the whole thing, but there was probably a time I also wasn't so cranky about a lot of things. My theory was, if you work on a movie, sure, why not get mentioned in the credits. I don't really feel that way anymore. Because credits have gotten completely out of control.

I'd never suggest that we go back to the olden days. Remember movies up until about 1965? There were no credits to speak of. Especially the really old ones. Writer, director, producer, a few stars. That was it. Then costumers got into the act, and make-up, okay, that was alright, I guess. Then somewhere in the 60s, I'm reckoning when the Hollywood Mavericks started making movies, all hell broke loose. Everybody and their brother had to be mentioned in the credits.

Now, I want to see the entire cast. Not because they deserve to be listed necessarily, but for my own personal information. If I want to know who played "Man" or "Girl In Hat" in a movie, then by damn, I should have the right to do so. But who, other than his mother, wants to know who the "Boom Operator" was? "Wow! The boom work in that was magnificent, wonder who that was?" If you think that way, you should be committed, sitting there in your little rubber cell, drooling and reading the latest copy of Boom Operator Monthly.

You know what these technical people get for working on movies? Money. They get fuckin' paid. But no, they want fuckin' paid and to be recognized so for that split second in time they can have their names in lights.

So, the "Snow Dogs" credits were agonizing. There I was, sitting and listening to Michael Bolton, amongst other smarmy pop stars, and watching the credits roll. There were credits for "Costume Dyer" and "Costume Breakdown Artist." Now, I don't know if this means she tended to the costumes that broke down, or she was in charge of breaking them down herself. In any case, I wonder if she had anything to do with that Super Bowl business. I love this one: "Props Buyer." "Yes, I'll take those two lamps, and this ashtray, and, do you have a tacky chenille bedspread that would look in place at a whorehouse? Yes! It's for a movie! Watch for me, I'll be in the credits!" There were credits for "Lamp Operator" (buy the Clapper and there's one less schmoe on the payroll), "Colorist" (of film, skin, clothing, or just off to the side in a coloring book I do not know), and the ever popular "Second Assistant Camera on the Second Unit."

Which brings me to the moment in my lunch hour where I realized there would be no seeing the beginning of the next movie, not even for a few moments. Just as I'd endured what I thought were all the credits that could possibly roll, including my personal favorite "Eyes and Teeth" (this was a movie where they animatronically tried to make dogs' faces cuter, one of my personal pet peeves), and the screen was black for a few seconds, up rolls "Second Unit." And here's the whole fuckin' thing all over again, only in a new location! Who cares?!?! Then, they started in with the music and the songs (remember when people used to be able to whistle a song in a movie and it didn't have to be credited at the end?), and, well, by that point I was not only on the verge of losing my will to live, but my lunch as well.

The only circumstance under which your movie should be allowed to have a long list of credits is if you do something to make them interesting. Like the Zucker Brothers did in "Airplane" by putting in credits like "Author of 'A Tale of Two Cities'......Charles Dickens." Maybe directors could arrange them so that the first letters of each credit will spell out a secret, cryptic message. Like the answer to why their film was so shitty in the first place. Or every 17 or 18th credit could be a clue as to where some tidy sum of money was hidden.

If not, cut them. Cut them! I don't want to read who drove the director from the hotel to the filming location, and I don't care what "assistant" followed the third credited star around with a pencil and paper, taking notes. Cut them!


Well, I guess I wasn't as late as I thought, especially after driving through some flying snow. I was flying too, btw.

Well, I love this movie idea of Acrochallenge because the answers rock. You clever little folks.

The letters this week were B R I A T G. The entries:

*Behold! Ratings Inspire Absolutely Insipid "G".
*But really, I'm a talent grabber!
*But rrrrrowr! I admire that George.
*Brian "Really, I Am Talented" Grazer
*Berenger: ratfaced irritating asshole twat git.
*Buster rules in awesome "The General."
*Brando really isn't all that great.
*Bad reviews indicate a true gem.
*Braveheart rocked! (I'm a tartan geek.)
*Bening Really Is Amoral - The Grifters.
*Bill. Rushmore Is A+. Tops Ghostbusters.
*Blade Runner - Intelligent Androids Terminated. Ghastly.
*Bad reviews "Ishtar". Audience's terrible groans.
*"Brrrr.... rescue improbable. Ahhh... Titanic's gone."
*"Bob Roberts" is amazing! Tabloid Government.
*Brief role involved a toothy grin.
*Burt Reynolds interested - accepts two grand.
*Bob really is a terrific gaffer

Wow, great stuff.

Honorable mention this week goes to Stennie, who tried to get me with her anti-Berenger propaganda (and believe me, you didn't say anything that wasn't true), but instead she got me with her "Buster rules in awesome 'The General.'"

MSAGRO's "Bob Roberts is amazing! Tabloid Government" is also getting an Honorable Mention. See, I was trying to keep it to one mention, one runner up and one winner, and you're making not be able to do it.

This week's runner up was a goodie. For all those of you in line to see "The Passion," try deepfatfriar's "Braveheart rocked! (I'm a tartan geek.)"

But this week's winner was a clear choice, and I'm still laughing. Thank you Jeff for your "Burt Reynolds interested - accepts two grand." That is so great - everytime I see the opening of "Win, Lose, or Draw" on the Game Show Network, they introduce Burt as "the number one box office draw five years in a row!" And always say, "What years? 1976-1981?"

Congrats to all who played!

Monday, March 08, 2004

Bet and Mr M At The Movies

No, Siskel and Ebert (or Ebert and The Other Guy) we're not. But when Mr M and I get together, and he's not torturing me with clarinet practice, our favorite weekend activity is movie-watching.

Watching movies with Mr M is an experience, and, generally, an experience I thoroughly enjoy. Sure, there are the slight bugs, his "ants in pants" affliction which causes him to pop up several times to get up and roam through the house, leaving me to decide whether to hit the "pause" button or just let the movie run (I generally "pause" - I think if I watch every frame, so should he), or his fun habit of yelling at characters on the screen ("All About Eve" was his pinnacle in this regard - before he got up to roam around and never returned), or his other fun habit of comparing every movie we watch to his own personal favorite epic, "Lonesome Dove."

My favorite thing about watching movies at Chez M, or Poderosa East, as it's been known to be called, is the "after movie discussion." I've always wanted the after movie discussion. For years I've wanted to be in a world where I go to the movies with a friend, or friends, and afterwards we go out for coffee and have a long meaningful discussion about what we just saw. And now I get that, well, after a fashion, anyway. Mr M makes us coffee, and we discuss the movie, discussions which can run the gamut from a generalized "It stinks" to an argument of who liked and who hated what for what reasons. (Oh, and by the by, all discussions usually begin with the question posed to me, "Well, how many stars?" by the man who snickered at my keeping a movie list because he said it's just one more way for me to turn something enjoyable into a pressure-filled chore.)

The after movie discussion has taken on something of a new meaning, though, since Mr M has become Student of Psychology M. We tend to try to get inside the minds of the characters as opposed to leaning towards plotline criticism. I like this change, actually. In fact, when we go looking for movies, I kind of keep this criterion in the back of my mind for choosing.

The first movie to get the therapy treatment was that Mike Leigh five-star golden nugget of movies, "All or Nothing." And believe me, there's a lot to analyze in that one. That family was a therapy session waiting to happen. Then it progressed from there just about anytime we've watched movies together, which unfortunately left no in-depth psychological discussion for "Finding Nemo," "For Those Who Think Young," or "Thunderbirds Are Go."

So, anyway. A couple of weeks ago I watched a documentary called "Capturing the Friedmans." It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary, but lost to "Lord of the Rings." "Capturing the Friedmans" was a fascinating film to watch.

Let's see if I can explain it in a capsule review. Dad Friedman is caught receiving child porn in the mail. The police raid his house and find loads of the stuff. Dad Friedman is also a teacher, and teaches piano and computer classes at the family home. So the police go and get a list of all his students, start seeking them out and questioning them, and voila, over half the kids are now saying they were molested in various ways, not only by Dad but by Younger Son Friedman as well. Soon after their arrests, Older Son Friedman buys a video camera and tapes their lives, or better put, the total disintegration of the family.

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, which I know sounds sick and twisted, but I enjoyed it because it stretched my mind back and forth and had as many plot twists as a screenplay. And I know that people who deal in child porn need to be cut no slack, but even with all the twists and turns, I can't help but think these molestation charges were totally coerced. The interviews with the alleged victims were just, well, you need to see them. I'll leave it at that.

And speaking of needing to see them, I knew that Mr M and I had to watch this movie together. There was just too much that needed discussing. And so I re-rented the movie and took it to his house that next weekend. And although the discussion was lively, and we were of a lot of the same opinions, I also found some things out about myself. Or Mr M. Or both of us.

I'm well aware that I use the phrase, "well, I'm no prude" quite a bit when maybe in certain ways I am. This kills me. I think of myself as very open minded, liberal, anti-censorship, anti-discrimination, pro-choice, pro-free thinking, pro-separation of church and state, and all the right stuff. And then someone challenges a belief I have and I have to think differently, and realize that maybe I could possibly be a prude, albeit an extremely foul-mouthed one, and, well, frankly, it pisses me off.

There were several things Mr M and I discussed at length where The Friedmans were concerned. But there was one in particular. Dad Friedman, a mild-mannered and good-humored if not creepy little man, wrote to a reporter during the trial and told her "his story." It began when the death of his sister tore his family apart. After his parents divorced, Dad F and his little brother lived with his mother, and, well, they all slept in the same bedroom and wouldn't you just know it, the mother brought home men and had sex with them right there in the bedroom where the Friedman brothers were nestled as well. It had a profound effect on him. To say the least.

As soon as this portion of the story came to light, Mr M started. I wish I could recreate in print the sound he was making. It was kind of a "waah waah waah" whining sound, mocking poor Dad for having to listen to his mother have sex with a succession of strange men. (And let's be honest, if you're having sex in the same room as two young boys, you're probably very strange indeed.)

At this point I spoke up. "Well, I'm sorry, but I think it's beyond poor parenting to have sex with men in a room where your kids are." (I think I refrained from saying, "well, I'm no prude" this time.)

And Mr M started in on one of his Screaming Diatribes (I'll swear, for a man to have such a soft voice, he sure can yell). I can't give you the particulars, only to say that I'm sure "bullshit" was bandied around more than a few times. Mr M's argument to that was, what about the American Indians, what about people in China and many other countries, where everyone lives in one enclosed space and it's perfectly natural for there to be sex going on with the little ones and grandma and grandpa and everybody else in the room. And I said, I didn't care, it was icky, although there was something much smarter than that in my brain trying to run its way out.

My argument was that it didn't matter what the "natural" thing was, in this society it's not done, whether that teaching is right or wrong, it is as it is, and for a kid to be fucked up by that is, in my mind, perfectly natural. My argument didn't win, though.

And that was just the first, the big, argument. Then came the arguments about other things I'm not a prude about but apparently I am. Like what constitutes "sexual contact," and "sexual gratification." I mean, can sexual contact mean touching someone's shoulder if it sexually excites the toucher? And can sexual gratification be sitting beside someone on a bus? And is sexual experimentation between very young kids extremely normal and done by everyone growing up, well, apparently everyone but yours truly, the wild and swinging prude.

And then the movie, and arguments, ended; my ideas had been challenged and I had to rethink all my positions. And some I'm still thinking about. And some, I'm trying not to think about.

But that's the best part of the after movie discussion, when it stays with you for weeks afterwards. Your brain has been well and truly screwed with. I mean, that's a good thing, right?


Hello to all, it's Monday and time to play a round of let's-try-something-a-little-bit-new-this-week round of Acromania!

I'm going to blog about movies all week. Why? I've no idea. They're just on my mind lately, I guess, and I haven't blogged about any. So since I'm going to do that, this week's acrochallenge is going to be movie related. Other than that, the rules are the same. Everyone has three entries to submit to see who can come up with the best acro that corresponds to the letters drawn randomly from the acrobasket.

I'll be judging again, and the only stipulation is that your blog must be movie-themed. No movie, no winnie. I'll judge the votes tomorrow night, I'm putting 10pm as the cutoff time, but the results probably won't be up till much later because I'll be on the road most of tomorrow night. So don't fret, they'll be up there sooner or later. And you'll know whether you won the Oscar© or the Razzie©.

This week's letters - B R I A T G


Sunday, March 07, 2004


Conversation that took place tonight between Mr M and I:

Bruce says: Blog yet?
Bet says: nope. stuck for idea.

[an hour passes]

Bet says: it's official. i have blogstipation tonight.
Bruce says: Okay.
Bruce says: We'll have to use a supblogsitory.
Bet says: ewwww. could i just take some milk of blognesia?
Bruce says: Yup.
Bet says: This is my blog.

And so it is.

Saturday, March 06, 2004

It Happened At Hardees

Well, I was tired. And then...depression set in.

I was driving to work yesterday morning, a little earlier than usual owing to the fact that it's getting lighter earlier and, I don't know, the gods must be smiling upon me to get me into work on time lately. I decided I'd treat myself to breakfast along the way, so instead of heading into town to work, I headed in the opposite direction the block or so to Hardee's, where the breakfast is good and the old people are rude. But I was going through the drive-thru; they could slam the front door in someone else's face.

Friday is the day of local essays on the public radio station I listen to. It's the station I read a couple of my own essays on. I don't get to hear many of them because I'm generally hightailing it to work about 3 minutes after they're finished. But occasionally I hear a good one.

A few weeks ago a lady read hers and it was about our boys overseas (her own son is one), and about how everytime she sees a report on TV about trouble in the Middle East, she imagines the scenario of two officers coming to her house to tell her her son's been killed. It was quite vivid and well, creepy, though it was well-written and I certainly feel for what she goes through. Anyway, it must have garnered quite a public reaction, because for about two weeks after there was a link on the station's website where you could listen to it again.

So I was heading to Hardee's, and the Civil War Guy was on. The Civil War Guy is on every single Friday right before the local essays. The Civil War Guy is a professor at Va Tech who takes one person or one event from the Civil War and each week expounds upon it at length. It's not so bad really, especially if you like the Civil War, and let's be honest, who doesn't, thanks to Ken Burns, except for one small thing. The Civil War Guy has a speech impediment. He can't say his Rs. So you get sentences like "Genewal Lee's awmy mawched thwough the Nowth..." well, you get the idea. Let's put it this way, while he's not as bad as Michael Palin's Pilate in "Life of Brian," it's still kind of like being taught the Civil War by Elmer Fudd.

And so I was stuck in the drive-thru line, listening to Professor Elmer finish up his story for the week, which he did, and then they introduced the essay. And I listened to it. And I came to the sad realization.

There are people out there funnier than I am.

This week's essayist told the story of walking along a wooded path behind her house one morning and seeing a blob of fur, what surely was a wounded animal rolling in pain and fighting for its life. She called her dog away from it and watched, unsure as to what to do, when it finally flopped its last and became still. So she went over to see what it was and what had happened, only to find that it was her wig, which the stiff wind had blown off her head earlier in the walk, unbeknownst to her.

She then went on to tell us how she'd gotten started wearing a wig several years ago (the world's worst haircut), and how it'd become as much a part of her as an arm or eye. But she also told us some pitfalls of being a wig-wearer. My favorite was that her cats like to nestle in it at night, and so manys the morning she rises from bed and tries to put a cat on her head, which always ends up hissing and scratching at her. She also described the look on her grandson's face the first time he saw her remove her hair and put it on the nightstand. And how, after that, he thought everyone's hair could be yanked off, and tried it often.

It had me in stitches, there waiting for my biscuit. But when it was over, I realized. I'm a hack! I'm a pretender!

I don't know why it should hit me like it did. It should be no big surprise - I mean, I have friends who are way funnier than I am.

I guess I just haven't had to listen to them on the radio.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Pardon Me

I am so very tired tonight. How tired? Well, I blew off my pedicure appointment because I didn't feel up to going. I mean, that's tired.

I feel like I've tilted at windmills all week. I have nothing to blog about. So pardon me.

I'll be better.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

The Smells of Red Tape

I know I've told yall before a little about the building I work in. It's run by Dick, not his real name, but so nicknamed for my dad's old phrase "he's tighter than Dick's hatband." So yep, he's cheap, but he's so much more. "Do-less" is the phrase we use here in the South. He's here, he's there, he's around, but never long enough to invest time and money and effort in doing what needs to be done to keep an aged, downtown building in adequate, if not tip-top, shape.

And so the toilets have overflowed, onto my sandaled foot, if you'll recall, and from November to March the back of the building where we park (The Bobsled Run) is covered with four-inch thick ice. The guttering over the back door is hanging. There's a hole in the ceiling of our back office, and a crack down the wall of our front one. The heating system, which I've never understood, it must have been installed by the Number 281 Blind Workers Local - the front offices will be freezing, the back offices will be aflame, and the thermostat has a locking cover on it so we have to ask them to come down and change the temperature. Speaking of locking covers, the toilet paper for the restrooms is also kept under lock and key, which we have learned to put up with since, in the beginning, Dick wanted us to provide our own toilet paper. Yes, I'll wait while you finish laughing.

One day we had to leave work early because of the overpowering gas smell in the building. Our heads hurt, our eyes burned. When we started getting a little loopy, we realized TheCompanyIWorkFor could make it one afternoon without it's B'field branch being in operation.

And now, we've got something new. To say "a smell" really does a disservice to it. For smells everywhere must cower in fear in the presence of what we've got going.

The best way to describe it would be that a rat ate a rat that'd eaten a rat that had bubonic plague. Then that rat crawled into a vat of raw sewage and died, presumably of rat poisoning, and began to decay as did every digested rat inside him. Then someone took a hose and set it in the sewage and air-pumped it into the vents of our building. And while it's confined mainly to the hallway, even with every door to our office closed tightly, it's still wafting in through the vents. It's a rancid, horrid smell, and it's been going on now for approximately five days. And it's getting worse.

Yesterday Dick popped into our office, smiling. "Wow, your office doesn't smell so bad, it's kind of nice." Our mouths hung open. He went on to tell us how his office upstairs was unbearable, but how "nice" it was that the smell downstairs was mainly just in the hallway. He also went on to say that it was sewage backed up, it was the town's responsiblity, and though he'd called the town, they didn't seem to be interested in doing anything about it. And so he sauntered off to who knows where, well, who knows where exactly, but we all know where generally, someplace that didn't smell like the bowels of a dead rat.

This morning I walked into work, through the back door of the building, as usual. The smell made me go weak at the knees. It was just ungodly. I immediately rolled my nose up like a window shade and contorted my face. It's basically been like that all day.

We then decided that waiting on Dick to do anything (especially since he's not around today) was not going to get us anywhere. We had the discussion yet again that we've been having for days, which is, breathing this for 8 hours a day over five days can not be good for one. What are we doing to our systems, sitting here breathing raw rat turd bubonic plague-ridden sewage filth? And then, Ms Poof got going.

Ms Poof (not her real name) is our go-to gal in the office. She likes to argue; in fact, she thrives on it. Whenever there's a tough case in the office and we need to blast underwriting or accounting, we give it to Ms Poof. We love it when she gets an error-filled phone bill. We gather to listen to her call and blast the phone company. It's entertainment. (My favorite exchange between TheCompanyIWorkFor and Ms Poof came when the someone in accounting told her "Now don't get huffy with me," and she replied, "Oh, trust me. You've haven't seen huffy.")

So Ms Poof got out the phone book and started making phone calls. She called the Sanitary Board, she called the Health Department. She called the Hazardous Waste Materials Department. She got bounced around a lot, but persistence is a strong suit with her, and so Ms Poof eventually got someone in Hazardous Waste (so to speak) to talk to her. We basically just wanted to know - are we safe sitting here inhaling this, if you'll pardon the expression, shit, or 7.2 years down the road are our heads going to suddenly explode from it building up inside us.

Here's the answer she got. And I love this. The person she spoke to said it sounded to her like what we were smelling was raw sewage that had methane gas in it. Now, I know my Dave Barry, and I know that methane gas build-ups are what make cows explode, right there whilst minding their own business, and with no warning whatsoever. He also told her that breathing this in - this is great - had no dangerous long term effects, just that it would make us sick while we were actually smelling it. Oh! Well, that makes it OK!

Then he said, in what has to be the mother of all governmental clusterfuck statements, that he could send a team of HazMat people out to look at our building. However, if they found anything at all amiss they would have to cite - our boss! Because they can't cite a landlord for such things. (Apparently there's a big landord lobby out there.) So, because it was the TheCompanyIWorkFor employee making the complaint, the TheCompanyIWorkFor boss would be cited. Even though the TheCompanyIWorkFor boss told the employee to call and complain about the smell!

I hate the government.


Well, the time has come to break hearts and make stars. But before we do that, let me just ponder something....

Why is it that everyone from Hawaii has this undying need to do that stupid "hang loose" hand signal every five minutes? God, do they not realize how completely annoying that is?

OK, back to the matter at hand.

Tonight's letters were T L K N R E Y. The entries:

*Tim loves kudos. Now Robbins' ego -- yecch.
*Teens, losers, kids. Numbing reality everywhere -- yawn.
*That lousy "k". Necessarily restrictive -- exceeds "y".
*The lowland kilts never really embarrass you.
*Those lousy kleptos nearly robbed Ephriam's yarmulke.
*The Lion King? Newly released every year.
*Talking Lionfish. Kind Nemo. Really Exciting. Yippee!
*Tell Laura Kaufman No! Red Eggs Yucky!
*The Last King Never Really Enjoyed Yams.
*Thanks, Leo Kottke, nobody's recently entertained Yukonners.
*That lout Keannu ......... nnnnnngggggggrrrrrrrrrrrrrr ........... Reeves: execrable yob.
*Tonight's lineup: Kevin Nealon reads "Everybody's Yiddish!"
*Try lowering kilt. Nads revealed, exposing yourself.
*Ten little kids? Never relaxing. Eight yelling.
*Trojans lubricated keenly. Nice rapid entry yearned.
*Triumphant little Keanu needs really excellent yodel.
*Tell Larry King - no reaming excreting yaks!

OK, let's get right to it.

Honorable mention this week goes to MSAGRO with "Ten little kids? Never relaxing. Eight yelling." A statement that strikes fear into my heart.

Runner up this week is the lovely LilyG with a timely and hopefully not true "Tim loves kudos. Now Robbins' ego -- yecch." Well, I guess all those actors have big egos.

Winner this week goes to the funny and absolutely true deepfatfriar's "The Lion King? Newly released every year." Take that, Eisner! haHA!

Thanks to all who played. See you next week. Same acrotime, same acrochannel.

Told Ya


NASA: Mars mission finds evidence that the planet once had water. Details soon.

Old news. As anyone who's seen "Robinson Crusoe on Mars" knows. Travelling astronaut monkey finds huge reservoir of Martian water.

Monday, March 01, 2004


Helloooooooo. And welcome once again to another God-did-I-really-stay-up-all-that-time-to-watch-the-most-boring-Oscar-telecast-in-years round of Acromania!

Once again, I've left it too late and shall be doing the judging. (I'm such a schmont. Whatever that means, I think I just made it up.) As you all know, the rules go a little bit like this: 3 entries per person to try and come up with the best acronym to the letters below, which are pulled out of the famed acrobasket. Tomorrow at 9pm est I shall be reading your entries and tallying the votes (of which mine are the only ones) and selecting the winners. The winner goes home with the adoration of his or her acroing peers, a year's supply of Rice-A-Roni, and a pat on the back from yours truly. The others just go home. Or else, they would, if they weren't home already playing the damn game.

And here are this week's letters:


You have the letters, now you know what to do!


Boy, did the Oscars suck major ass.

I couldn't even catch a buzz on the drinking game! Jack Nicholson wasn't there, so I finally just started gulping if they showed Michael Douglas - he seemed to be the "reaction shot guy." I mean - I couldn't even chug during the dead celeb montage! I was taking swigs for anything - "Someone! Please mention Iraq! Please get cut off!" (Thankfully, that short subject film guy, who thought way too much of himself, got me a drink with that. I loved the look on his partner's face as they were sent away without his getting a chance to speak: "You longwinded fuckwad! See if I work with you again!")

Oh well. At least I'm bored enough that I should sleep well.

(PS: Commercial-wise, I was interested to know that people don't have heart attacks anymore, they have CVD, and I was very happy indeed that Badger made it home to his shitty vacationing family who apparently didn't think it was worth their while to take five minutes to find him when he first got lost.)